As is tradition with Sixers first round picks, Zhaire Smith suffered an injury this offseason. The rookie fractured a bone in his left foot (the fifth metatarsal) while training, with the diagnosis being an acute Jones fracture. According to a press release from the Sixers, Smith successfully underwent surgery to repair the fractured metatarsal:
AUG. 10, 2018 — Rookie guard Zhaire Smith underwent successful surgery Thursday evening to repair an acute Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Smith suffered the injury during Tim Grgurich’s development camp in Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 6.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley, Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Additional information regarding Smith’s recovery and return-to-play timetable will be provided as available and when appropriate.
I’m sure you remember that Ben Simmons’ 2016-2017 season was lost to a Jones fracture. But there were incentives for Simmons to sit out the entire season: the Sixers were bad and wanted to lose in order to obtain a high draft pick, and Ben purportedly wanted a full season’s worth of games to make a run at the Rookie of the Year award. It made sense for Simmons to redshirt rather than “rush” back given the circumstances, on top of Simmons recovery process having its hiccups. The same scenario should not be expected for Zhaire Smith. The Sixers are contending for the Eastern Conference Championship in the upcoming season and could use Zhaire’s defense off the bench as soon as possible. At this point in time, I expect Zhaire to hit the court as soon as he’s deemed healthy.
The timetable for Zhaire’s return is currently unknown. And if we know anything about the Sixers, it is that they are usually cautious with injuries. We’ll keep you up to date on any news related to the recovery.
Liberty Ballers community member Broletarian shared a link on Twitter which leads to a study done by the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU’s Hospital for Joint Diseases. You can read it here. There’s quite a bit of information, but the study attempted to figure out what kind of changes may occur to a player’s performance after suffering a Jones fracture. The conclusion:
The majority of NBA players sustaining a Jones fracture return to their preinjury level of competition. These elite athletes demonstrate no decrease in performance on their return to play.
Take a big sigh of relief. While Zhaire’s injury is disappointing and unfortunate, it shouldn’t be expected to derail his career or hamper the rookie’s tantalizing athleticism. Get well and come back soon Zhaire. The dunks. Oh the dunks.